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Causes and Treatment of Rotator Cuff Problem, Does it require surgery?

Some rotator cuff problems can be treated at home. But a problem that is serious or lasts for more than a few months may require surgery.

A rotator cuff tear is a common injury to the shoulder joint, but not every rotator cuff tear causes problems that require surgery to fix.

The most common shoulder injury,  rotator cuff tears usually cause signs of weakness and pain, especially when trying to lift an arm.

A serious injury resulting from a rotator cuff tear should be considered for surgical repair within six weeks of injury to prevent muscle and nerve atrophy. 

 

Causes

A group of nerves and muscles in the shoulder, the rotator cuff helps to lift and rotate the arm. It also helps keep the shoulder joint in place. Occasionally, however, rotator cuff tendons rupture or squeeze through the bones around them.

This can be due to an injury, such as a fall on the arm. But over time, wear and tear can also affect your shoulder, which can cause severe pain.

 

Treatment

Some rotator cuff problems can be treated with home care. The doctor recommends relaxing the shoulder joint and keeping the area cool.

Non-surgical treatments include physical therapy, anti-inflammatory drugs, and possibly cortisone injections can benefit old rotator cuff tears and those that come without bruising.

However, if these fail to work, rotator cuff surgery should be considered, either to remove the roughness from the tear or if the tissue has the proper quality and quantity to perform the surgical repair.

Patients with more persistent pain may need to undergo surgical treatment with simple activities such as putting on clothes, lifting household items, or with pain that disturbs sleep at night.

If symptoms do not interfere with normal activities, then a person does not need any surgery. For example, a patient with a non-dominant rotator cuff tear of the shoulder who lives a sedentary lifestyle may not require surgery.

Conversely, athletes with injured shoulders may need surgery to return to the sport of their choice.

Non-surgical treatments can help relieve the symptoms of small tears. However, larger tears usually benefit from earlier intervention because these tears may recede, resulting in a permanently smaller one.

As a result, irreversible weakening of the muscles can occur. Timely surgery can help increase the chances of a successful recovery in patients with these tears.

 

Surgery May be Required if:

  • There is a tear in the rotator cuff tendon
  • The shoulder does not improve after 6 to 12 months
  • The patient’s level of activity is high and depends on the strength of the shoulder to play sports or do one’s work.
  • Lack of strength in the shoulder, it is painful to move

 

Related Article: Very Common Shoulder Problems And Treatment

 

What Type of Surgery is Required?

Pain can be relieved and the shoulder function can be restored with surgery. Some surgeries may be performed on an outpatient basis but most of them may require hospitalization.

 

Common types of surgeries are:

 

Arthroscopic Repair:

Two very small cuts in the skin, and the surgeon inserts a small camera or a thin tool into the shoulder called an arthroscope. This allows them to see which parts of the rotator cuff are damaged and what is the best way to fix them.

 

Open Tendon Repair:

After being around for a long time, this surgery is the first technique used to repair the rotator cuff. If the tears are too large or too complicated, the surgeon may choose this method.

By making a large incision in the shoulder, the shoulder muscle is separated, giving the surgeon direct access to the nerves. This is useful if the nerve or shoulder joint needs to be replaced.

 

Recovery 

Recovery from arthroscopic surgery is usually quicker than from open tendon repair. Since repair of an open tendon is more complicated, one can experience more pain right after surgery.

You can have any surgery and it takes time to fully recover. One must be prepared to be in a sling for about 6 weeks. This protects your shoulder by giving the rotator cuff time to heal. Driving off for at least one month.

The major part of recovery is physical therapy. The doctor may recommend daily exercise or one can work with a physical therapist. The movements learned will help regain shoulder strength and range of motion.

Although recovery from rotator cuff surgery can be challenging. Most people get back to their usual routine within 6 months.

Led by Dr. Tanveer Bhutani, our team at Eva Hospital specializes in surgery and other treatments for rotator cuff problems.

Dr. Bhutani, with his accuracy and experience, is helping people to lead pain-free and normal life. Contact for an appointment.

 

About The Author

Tanveer Bhutani
Eva Hospital encompasses various modern orthopedic practices pioneered by the prominent orthopedic surgeon in Ludhiana “Dr. Tanveer Singh Bhutani”.

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